Smooth(ie) Criminal: Browning prevents apples from being ideal smoothie ingredient…for now

Smoothies have become incredibly popular in recent years, which is great, but apple smoothies have not, which is a shame. Why is the world’s second-most eaten fruit (curse you bananas!) largely missing the boat on one of the most popular ways for consumers to conveniently get their fruits and veggies? And more importantly, what can we do to get more apples into the mix?

The simple answer to question one is “browning” and thus, the answer to question two would be “address the browning issue”, but first, let’s take a quick look at the smoothie craze and what’s made it so popular. First and foremost, smoothies are generally seen as healthy, delicious and a convenient way to consume fruits. And, with increasing emphasis being placed on convenience and health, it’s no wonder that smoothies have become so popular.Apple Smoothies

According to the WSJ, blender sales rose 103% between 2009 and 2014, while frozen fruit sales are up 67% since 2010. And it’s not just home-made smoothies that are gaining popularity; the biggest names in foods and beverages have jumped on the bandwagon, too! McDonald’s put smoothies on its menu in 2010, while Starbucks did the same back in 2008 (and even then, were considered a bit late to the party).

Nowadays, outlets are trying to differentiate themselves by getting creative with their smoothie ingredients, but we’d wager that the most popular mix is ice, frozen/fresh fruit and dairy (usually milk or yogurt) to give the smoothie a creamier texture.

Turning back to apples, is browning really such an impediment when smoothies are taking off the way they have? Absolutely! Unless you have an incredibly powerful blender and you like to eat the core, you’d probably cut up your apples before adding them to the blender (let the browning begin…). Then, you’ll blend it up with ice, dairy and enjoy at your leisure, as obviously, drinks with ice in them aren’t meant to be chugged.

However, if you take your time to enjoy your smoothie, you might end up with a glass of something that looks more like brown sludge, and less like the fresh, appealing beverage that was intended. Ok, so maybe you add some lemon juice to slow the browning (assuming you don’t mind the acidity). Sounds like a minor pain, but not the worst workaround in the world – until you remember that lemon juice makes dairy curdle

So, the current options for apples are 1) avoid dairy and use lemon juice (giving less ingredient flexibility while adding additional cost & prep time) or 2) race against time before the smoothie turns brown or curdles.

Stay tuned for next week’s post in which we introduce option #3 – nonbrowning Arctic® apple smoothies – including lots of pics of the first ever nonbrowning Arctic® Granny smoothie!

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About Joel Brooks

Growing up in the Okanagan Valley, Joel had the opportunity to experience apple growing first hand, a background that helped lead him to his role as Product & Special Projects Manager. Joel feels privileged to work with such great people towards a goal that’s so easy to get behind – helping people to eat more apples!